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Hoosac Valley graduation was held in the gymnasium.
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Salutatorian David Scholz told the class of 2024 they were hard workers who took their education seriously even in the last days of school.
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Class speaker Abby Scialabba said the class of 2024 is a tight-knit family.
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Hoosac Valley Class of 2024 Told To Be Like A Hurricane

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Valedictorian Talia Rehill said in 2020 she was determined to become the valedictorian and to attend Harvard.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Valedictorian Talia Rehill reminded the 40 members of the class of 2024 to take on the world like a hurricane.

"This is the nature of the hurricane, where passion, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence define who we are," she said in her address Friday evening. "Let us carry this mindset with us as we forge ahead, knowing that with an unstoppable resolve and a steadfast commitment to our goals, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way."

Rehill, who is the second Hoosac Valley student to attend Harvard, told the class of 2024 how this mindset has helped her accomplish her dreams, noting she always had a passion for learning and an even greater drive to achieve. She said in 2020 she penned her fate on a piece of paper, writing she would be the valedictorian and would attend Harvard upon graduation.

"All these years later, that handwritten goal remains hanging on my bedroom wall. I remember first holding that paper up to my wall and securing it with Scotch Tape. I remember knowing that my dream was far-fetched to any rational person, but it never was to me," she said. "I remember knowing that I would achieve everything I said I would down to the very last word."

But she did not want to become a "Harvard robot" and she said she "succumbed to Applebee’s, hangouts by Jack’s bonfire, and a dive into Onota Lake" when homework felt like a "weight too heavy."

She reminded her classmates that no matter what their dreams are, to maintain their "wild side."

"For all the students who are here in the stands today with the dream and the drive, topped with the need for fun, my advice to you is to give in," she said. "Having a wild side is a wonderful thing that will teach you more about life than you could ever pull from a book. Your high school years are meant to be enriched by your classrooms and your clubs, but the real development is what happens to you when you’re vulnerable."

In closing, she asked the class of 2024 to think about where they have come from, noting the small rural community has helped form them.

"As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, let us remember that hard work will always triumph over mere talent. Coming from a small town like ours, where opportunities may seem limited and the odds may sometimes feel stacked against us, we have learned the true value of perseverance and resilience," she said. "...Being a part of the Hoosac Valley community has instilled in us a spirit of determination and grit that propels us to work twice as hard to achieve our dreams."

Rehill also asked for a moment of silence for class of 2024 member Noah Brown. Brown was struck and killed by a car in 2015. Although eight at the time, he would have been a member of the class of 2024.

Salutatorian David Scholz took a moment to thank family, friends, and teachers and acknowledged the milestone he and his classmates have achieved by graduating.

"Today is an occasion that we have looked forward to since our first time stepping into the high school, or maybe even before that," Scholz said. "Above all, it is a memorable day for everyone here because it marks an important milestone in our lives. None of us are here by mistake, and this shows a cumulation of our hard work, dedication, and perseverance day in and day out."

Scholz said the last week was special because seniors opened their time capsules that they sealed in 9th grade. He said it was a reminder of many fond memories, but also challenges including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic their freshman year.

And looking back at it, he said it is something the class of 2024 can laugh about now.

"Who would have ever thought that school would be canceled for three months, or that we would sit in our rooms with all of our personal belongings ready to distract us and take our attention from the teacher," he said. "Yet we all worked through it and made the best of our situation."

Scholz said the class of 2024 is hardworking and even at the end of the school year, they were fiercely competitive in the annual cardboard boat race on Cheshire Lake with only two days left in the school year.

"We gathered old refrigerator boxes and duct tape, and constructed boats, or at least attempted to construct them. Each team diligently ensured the seams were sealed and the bottom painted," he said. "...We wanted to win this, and with two people in the boat and our homemade paddle, we pushed off from the dock. Though, we quickly realized we were in trouble when the back seam broke and my friend, Jack, started to disappear with the boat. In the end, we made it over half of the distance in record time, but even though we sank, the hard work and determination of all the teams made for a memorable experience."

He ended by telling his classmates that high school should not be seen as the end of something but the beginning

"When we go on to college, the workforce, or whatever our future plans hold, we will be in a completely new environment. No one will know who you are or your story leading up to now, but that is the exciting part because you can make new friends, grow stronger relationships, and grow out of old habits," he said. "Just because you are someone today, doesn’t mean that you have to stay that person the rest of your life. The world has endless possibilities, so I hope that every one of the graduates here today goes on to try something new."

Class speaker Abby Scialabba said the class of 2024 may be small but they are a tight group. She said the class of 2024 is a family.

"Another thing about family is that they support each other and are proud of each other for their achievements. This class has always been there for each other through the ups and downs of highschool," she said. "When there were achievements to be had, there were my classmates cheering one another on, whether it was on the court, at the field, or in the audience. This class, a mosaic of different talents and dreams, has had immense success in and out of the classroom."

Scialabba said she was proud of the class of 2024 who have all grown as people over their time in high school.

"As I look at you all today, I am overcome with pride, seeing how much we have all changed over the years. From pre-pubescent middle schoolers we grew into adults, ready to take on the world," she said. "…But in all seriousness, I know that each and every one of us will find success in our own ways as we embark on our journeys. As we leave Hoosac Valley High School behind, let us not forget the bonds we shared and the memories we created together."
More photos can be found here.
The Hoosac Valley Class of 2024:
Austin Michael Alfonso
Grace Hailey Baum
Agien Jovante Betts
Gabe James Bishop
Dana Elizabeth Brassard
Skyler Marie Caims
Autumn Rose Carnevale
Nickolas Joseph Chorba
Logan Michael Ciempa
Eva Margaret Cole
Andrew Michael Dupee
Wesley Henry Emerson
Elliotte Carol Farrington
Frank Craig Field
Taylor Anne Garabedian
lan Joseph Godfrey
Jazmin Elizabeth Gregory
Jason Edward Isbell
Madalyn Mae Lamour
Ace Ryoko Langnickel
Jack Dominic Martin
Mallory Grace Mazzeo
Joseph Anthony McGoverm
Haley Jayne McNeice
Jordan Ryan O'Laughlin
Guy Allen Sawyer Perin
Nicholas Alexander Pompi
Skye Lynn Reese
Talia Hampton Rehill
Raegan Anna Rose
Austin Joseph Sadlow
David Ryan Scholz
Olivia Rose Scholz
Abigail Raine Scialabba
Hanna Constance Shea
Dorothy Jane Stevens
Kadan Charles Tatro
Michael Arron Volff
Hannah Kathleen Walsh
Mikayla Lynn Witto


Tags: graduation 2024,   Hoosac Valley,   

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United Counseling Service Wins Wellness Award

BENNINGTON, Vt. — United Counseling Service is a winner of the 2024 Vermont Governor's Excellence in Worksite Wellness Gold Level Award, presented by the Vermont Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health. 
This award is presented each year to organizations across the state that make employee wellness a priority.
The UCS Worksite Wellness Committee engaged staff in several worksite wellness initiatives this year, including a Community Supported Agriculture program in partnership with Full Well Farm in Adams, Mass., chair massages for staff, a potluck soup event for staff, quarterly lunches at rotating office locations, and facilitating ergonomic updates for workspaces following recent ergonomic assessments.
"We are honored to receive the Excellence in Worksite Wellness Gold Level Award," said Amy Fela, director of operations and co-chair of the Wellness Committee. "This achievement highlights our ongoing dedication to creating a supportive and healthy work environment."
UCS is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has been a part of Bennington County's integrated health-care system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners.
Learn more about the Department of Health's Worksite Wellness Awards here. Learn more about United Counseling Service here.
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